A FOX TALE 53
up and cackle, he made a dash and grabbed it by the neck. The chicken struggled fiercely, one of its wings got caught in the bars of the coop, and the scuffling that ensued soon woke the whole roost. Then began such a cackling, and screaming, and quacking as Eenard had never heard before, and he tugged at his chicken in a perfect frenzy of despair, expecting the hen-wife to appear every minute. At'last he got free of the coop, and was just going to descend the ladder when the door opened, and a woman came in with a lantern. Renard saw in a moment that escape by the door was impossible, and instantly his fertile brain had planned a bold scheme. Still holding the chicken in his mouth, he stumbled on the top step of the ladder and rolled heavily to the bottom. The hen-wife ran forward, stick in hand, to put an end to the thief; but seeing he lay quiet in a huddled-up heap, she seized his tail, and dragged him towards the door. Imagine the shock poor Renard experienced when he felt his beautiful brush grasped by the sturdy hen-wife's fingers ! and the terrible longing which came over him to turn and rend his captor. He restrained himself, however, when he saw he was being dragged towards the door ; and when the hen-wife, feeling his stiff and lifeless body somewhat heavy, tumbled him into a thicket of nettles, he almost barked with delight. True, he had lost his chicken, but had gained in cunning, and cunning is honour among foxes.
Renard's exploits are too many and various to mention; but there is just one more you must hear about, because it shows he had pluck, as I think all foxes really have.
He was slinking along at dusk through some long grass, close in to a wood, when, snap ! bang ! and Renard was fast in a trap, caught by the leg. He tried dragging, pulling, and shaking it all in vain ; the trap clung to his flesh with its iron teeth, and would not let go. After persevering for an hour or two, Renard gave up those methods, and tried another, beginning deliberately to